“What I really want is to reach my readers. I don’t really care if I write a best seller but if one day a reader contacts me and says “Hey your book really spoke to me” then I’ll be satisfied that I’ve done a good job.”
– Emily Paull
Blogger and Writer
Perth writer Emily Paull created her very own blog The Incredible Rambling Elimy- Adventures of a Little Known Writer. Earlier this week we heard from Lauren W. Price who featured some of her Graphic Design work on Emily’s blog. Emily is now developing and sharing her writing by reviewing books and documenting her work as she goes. Here’s a wonderful Short Story Emily read at the Subiaco Library in April this year. Read on to find out more about Emily and her work.
Where did the idea for the Incredible Rambling Elimy come from?
Well that depends on if you’re talking about the name, or the blog itself… I assume you mean the blog so I’ll start there. In early 2008, just before I started Year 12, I decided that I wanted to be a writer and nothing else. Before that I’d had plans to have a career in something else and write in my spare time, but I realised writing was the only thing I really wanted to do, the thing I loved. So I signed up to do a week long course at the Katharine Susannah Prichard writers centre up in the hills- it was called Write a Rama and I was the oldest student there, but I loved it. They brought in local writers to come and do exercises with us and on the first day Lee Battersby came to talk. He told us all about his blog, the Battersblog. And I thought… hey, I could do that! So I did! And the Incredible Rambling Elimy was born. The name came from an old anecdote from my childhood. I used to have a friend who had difficulty pronouncing my name because of a speech impediment. He would mix up the m and the l. My grandmother worries about me divulging too many details online, and this nickname seemed like a good compromise.
What was it like starting your blog and writing your first ever post?
To be honest, I don’t really remember. I used to write something every Tuesday, just about what I had been writing, if anything, and I always used to sign off by saying “Happy trails little campers” but it was all very innocent. Sometimes I read back over those posts and cringe.
How addicted are you to reading?
Put it this way, if I don’t get to read in a day, I get veeeeeery cranky. I always have a book with me. Lemony Snicket is quoted as saying, “If you meet someone and they don’t have a book with them, don’t trust them” although I may have got that wording slightly wrong… I have so many unread books in my room it’s hard to find space for them all. I did a clean out just this morning, getting rid of some of the unread Advanced Reading Copies that I get through work (I am a bookseller by day) and I still don’t have enough space but at least there aren’t giant stacks of books under my desk anymore.
Tell us about the first time you found out one of your pieces was about to be published.
I haven’t had a book published yet. I assume that is the ultimate high for a writer, but you shouldn’t quote me on it. The first time I had a piece accepted for publication was probably in year 12… I entered a lot of competitions that year, still in the junior category, and I came third in the Mandurah-Murray Writer’s Group short story contest, and then that story was bound up in a collection for all the winners to keep. That was pretty great. I also won a $25 Angus and Robertson voucher. Yay.
This isn’t technically publishing, but that year I also entered a writing competition at the Murdoch Uni open day, and my short story on anti-smoking was turned into a play by the drama students there. I called everyone, my Dad, my boyfriend at the time- I was so excited! It didn’t matter to me that there were only about four entrants… I had won! I couldn’t sit still.
What are the common questions people tend to ask you when they find out you’re a writer?
Haha… oh dear. At work, when people ask me what I want to be when I grow up (and for goodness sakes, I’m 22) and I say I am a writer, they want to know where they can buy my book. In the bookshop of my dreams, people, located inside my head. One day. They also want to know what my book is about, and it’s important to keep that answer short and sweet, because they’re not interested in the long answer. You see their eyes glaze over in boredom when you try, trust me. What else? Oh, they want to know where I get my ideas from, and sometimes they want to know if it’s feasible to be a writer these days. I also have one co-worker who kindly asks me how my book is going every so often, and that’s really nice, so if you’re reading this, thanks Dave!
What are some common misconceptions about writers?
That anyone can be rich like JK Rowling if only they can get a publisher… that publishers are evil money-grubbing soulless people who just want to make cash off you… that we all starve in garrets drinking stale red wine and eating cup a soup.
Out of everything you have written, what is your favourite piece of work and and why?
Oh gee! That’s like saying which one of my bastard children I love the most. Um. At the moment I am pretty obsessed with my novel in progress. I’m very proud of the progress I’ve made and I’ve been working on it the longest. It represents a large chunk of my life, it’s part of who I am.
What sorts of environments do you find to be inspiring?
I really like writing in cafes in the early morning… it’s not home so I don’t get distracted by piles of unwashed laundry and I don’t get up early few minutes to remake my tea. I love Fremantle, walking around Fremantle is good for the senses. And bookshops are marvellous places, little independent ones where the staff want to chat to you. I love chatting to my customers at work, they always have stories to tell if you know how to coax them out.
What does your ideal future in writing look like?
Ideally, I’d love to be able to work less and write more. I’d love to have full days to work on my craft. I think it’s probably a cliché to say that I’d love to be able to support myself by writing alone, so I won’t say that, but it would be great to not have to work full time, because when you’re a writer that’s a full time job as well… and at the moment I feel like I’m working two full time loads and only getting paid for one. It’s a bit exhausting. Plus you have to see your friends and family. What I really want is to reach my readers. I don’t really care if I write a best seller but if one day a reader contacts me and says “Hey your book really spoke to me” then I’ll be satisfied that I’ve done a good job.
What recommendations do you have for young writers just starting out?
Eek I don’t really feel qualified to answer this. I’m just starting out myself! I guess I can pass on the advice people have given me. First of all, read. Read everything. Second, don’t aspire to be a writer, BE a writer. And writers write.
Third, keep a journal. Write whatever the heck you want in it. Fourth, be daring. Contact the writers you admire, introduce yourself if you get the chance. The local writers I admire have been very kind to me in my journey. Fifth, take courses. Take good courses. In Perth, UWA extension runs some great ones, and the writers centres in your capital city can help with that. Go to writers festivals, read blogs, read literary magazines. Submit your best work to anywhere you can. Cast a wide net. Get your name out there. Build a portfolio. And never ever give up, even if you have a year like I’ve just had where no one will touch your writing with a 20 foot barge pole. If you love it, keep going.